Broadway Nat'l Bank v. Adams

133 Mass. 170 (1882)

 

RULE:

If the intention of the founder of a trust is to give to the equitable life tenant a qualified and limited, and not an absolute, estate in the income, such life tenant cannot alienate it by anticipation, and his creditors cannot reach it at law or in equity.

FACTS:

By the terms of his brother's will, the defendant debtor was the beneficiary of a trust, the income from which was to be paid to him semi-annually. The will provided that the income could not be anticipated by assignment. Plaintiff creditor brought a bill in equity to apply the income of the trust fund to pay certain debts. The court dismissed the bill in equity brought by the creditor to acquire the income of a trust fund created for the debtor's benefit by his brother's will.

ISSUE:

Does plaintiff have any right or interest to the trust fund?

ANSWER:

No.

CONCLUSION:

If the intention of the founder of a trust, as here, was to give to the equitable life tenant a qualified and limited, and not an absolute, estate in the income, such life tenant could not alienate it by anticipation and his creditors could not reach it at law or in equity. The founder of the trust was the absolute owner of his property. He had the entire right to dispose of it, either by an absolute gift to his brother, or by a gift with such restrictions or limitations, not repugnant to law, as he saw fit to impose. The income of the trust fund created for the benefit of the debtor could thus not be reached by attachment before it was paid to him.

Click here to view the full text case and earn your Daily Research Points.